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Living color

Despite NYC's diversity, it's not often that you find yourself amid a nice racial mix. Here are some of our favorite places to break out of the monochromatic social scene.

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TV on the Radio concerts


Maybe it’s ’cause the band is multiracial. Maybe it’s that the venues it hits are in diverse parts of town. Maybe it’s the sound, which flips between indie pop and hip-hop. Whatever it is, the crowd is as hard to pigeonhole as the music. tvontheradio.com

Habana Outpost


Corn and cheese curds cling to all faces at this eco-conscious Cuban eatery that truly does feed the neighborhood’s black, white, Latino and Asian residents. 57 Fulton St at South Portland Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-858-9500)

The New York Public Library


Free books, free Internet, awe-inspiring design and comfy chairs: The main library—especially the Rose Main Reading Room—is a great equalizer. Everyone has the same access and everyone gets shhhed the same way. nypl.org

Prospect Park pickup soccer


If the U.N. had a fútbol league, it’d look something like these impromptu teams, with players hailing from Morocco, Grenada, Trinidad, Italy and Brazil, among other places. Prospect Park’s western side (around the Picnic House in Long Meadow), enter at Prospect Park West at 3rd St, Park Slope, Brooklyn

Lincoln Center Out of Doors


At one concert last year, the free summer series blended Ethiopian saxophonist Gétatchèw Mèkurya with Dutch experimental band the Ex. The crowd—a meeting of older world-jazz veterans and younger yuppies—blended just as easily. Damrosch Park, 62nd St between Amsterdam and Columbus Aves (212-875-5456)


Body & Soul parties


DJs François K, Joe Claussell and Danny Krivit spin a mix of soulful house and classics that appeals to a wide range of folks—black and white, straight and gay, even young and old (no joke—we’ve seen 60-year-olds). The best part? They all actually dance together. It’s like the “It’s a Small World” ride, but with better music. Next party: Dec 28 at Webster Hall

Café Naico and Tiny Cup Cafe


Two wi-fi–fortified coffee shops cater to Bed-Stuy’s newcomers but manage to draw a local crowd, too. Despite fears of gentrification, pierced hipsters park their laptops alongside behatted locals fresh from church. Café Naico, 705 Myrtle Ave between Spencer and Walworth Sts, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (347-221-1541). Tiny Cup, 301 Clifton Pl at Nostrand Ave, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (718-399-9200)

Escuelita


With black go-go studs and trannie Latina divas to ogle, the focus here ain’t on skin color. Nonetheless, there is some of every shade at this queer dance club. 301 W 39th St at Sixth Ave (212-631-0588)

Vesper


Working-class African-American boozers, binge-drinking Pratt students, Asian bartenders: It’s Central Casting’s idea of a Brooklyn dive. 493 Myrtle Ave between Ryerson and Hall Sts, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (718-399-1984)

NYC subways


Maybe the “Getting off!” shriek-and-shove barely counts as happy intermingling, but we still love the MTA for being what Indian kids, old Chinese ladies and the mayor all have in common.

NEXT in Essentials 2008: New York is underground “Where’s the underground scene?”»

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